Thursday, September 9, 2010

Street Smarts for the Writer PART TWO

We never go into a room to write alone, we go crowded by our own experiences—Julia Cameron

The essential ingredient for any novelist is driveness.—John Gardner

Over time authors have discovered that routine is a better friend than inspiration.—Ralph Keyes

Technique alone is never enough. You have to have passion. Technique alone is just an embroidered potholder.—Raymond Chandler

A novelist’s discipline and technique are infinitely more important than inspiration.—David Madden

The correct detail is rarely exactly what happened; the most truthful detail is what could have happened, or what should have.—John Irving

Don’t say the old lady screamed—bring her on and let her scream.—Mark Twain

No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money—Samuel Johnson

No one but a blockhead ever wrote except for love…You must do it for love. If you do it for money, no money will ever be enough, and eventually you will start imitating your first successes, straining hot water through the same old teabag. It doesn’t work with tea, and it doesn’t work with writing.—Erica Jong

Words in prose ought to express the intended meaning; if they attract attention to themselves, it is a fault; …Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Short words are best and the old words when short are best of all. –Winston Churchill

After I had written the Grapes of Wrath and it had been to a large extent read and sometimes burned, the librarians at Salinas Public Library, who had known my folks, remarked that it was lucky my parents were dead so that they did not have to suffer this shame. I tell you this so you may know what to expect. Now get to work—John Steinbeck

Often I am asked if any writer ever helped or advised me. None did. However, I was not asking for help either, and I do not believe one should. If one wishes to write, he or she had better be writing, and there is no real way in which one writer can help another. Each must find his own way. –Louis L’Amour

Books don’t get easier to write. It’s not a formula.—Terry McMillan

…for the most, writing is now just a horrible grim burden. I wouldn’t do it if I were not morally engaged to do it.— Katherine Anne Porter

My schedule is flexible, but I am rather particular about my instruments; lines Bristol cards and well-sharpened, not too hard, pencils capped with erasers.— Vladimir Nabokov

I write my first version in longhand. Then I do a complete revision, all in long hand. Then I type a third draft on yellow paper, a very special certain kind of yellow paper.—Truman Capote

An author must develop a deliberate process used to help facilitate the writing experience, otherwise there is no way to retrace those steps and repeat them.—Stanley D. Williams (The Moral Premise)


  1. John Steinbeck's local librarians are really nasty!

  2. Put 'em in my quotes file. Thanks, Kenny! :)

    Loved the John Steinbeck one so much that I made it my Facebook status today. LOL.

  3. Great post! Thanks for putting this together. I particularly agree with the "driveness" quotient (though I've never heard that particular term) and the passion. Dogged determination helped in my particular case. And yes, the Steinbeck quote is priceless. I've printed these out and will keep them, too. I must have missed Part One. I'll look in the archives. Someone also said to me that they could tell the difference between a writer writing for a deadline and one writing out of pure love. I can, too. Thank goodness I've never had to write on a deadline - yet! Optimism - that's another factor. Blessings, JoAnn Durgin

  4. Like all the quotes, Kenny, and particularly Julia Cameron's. Her book needs to be in every writer's library. Thanks.

  5. The Truman Capote one got me. I can't imagine writing a novel in longhand. Thank the Lord for the invention of computers!

  6. I LOVED the Ralph Keyes quote and have to say it's been true in my case!!!